Status Quo rocker Francis Rossi's guitar sells at auction for £119k

Status Quo rocker Francis Rossi’s battered green guitar sells at auction for £119k… 51 years after he bought it second hand for just £75

A battered green guitar worth just £75 (equivalent to £500 today) in 1968 has been sold at auction for a massive £118,813.

Francis Rossi bought the Fender Telecaster second-hand in Glasgow 51 years ago and used it right up until its retirement in 2015.

The Status Quo star, 70, revealed he was ‘amazed’ by the ‘chequered history’ he had with his instrument, ahead of its sale at Bonhams Knightsbridge on Tuesday.

Loved possession: Francis Rossi bought the Fender Telecaster second-hand in Glasgow 51 years ago and used it right up until its retirement in 2015. It sold for £118,813

He said: ‘The green Tele served me extremely well for almost 50 years and I’m always amazed when I look back and realise what a chequered history we had together.’

The guitar – which was first used on the single Down The Dustpipe in 1970 and played on virtually all the band’s tracks for the next 45 years – was the headline lot at the auction’s Entertainment Memorabilia Sale. 

Jon Baddeley, managing director of Bonhams Knightsbridge, said: ‘It has been a great pleasure to have this iconic guitar in the spotlight at today’s auction.

‘Amazed’: The Status Quo star, 70, revealed he was ‘amazed’ by the ‘chequered history’ he had with his instrument, ahead of its sale at Bonhams Knightsbridge on Tuesday (pictured in 1975)

‘The Bonhams saleroom is a very different stage to arenas or stadiums and we are delighted this legendary piece of British rock memorabilia hit such a high note today.’

The sale, which also featured the red and white trousers worn by Queen star Freddie Mercury on the band’s 1986 tour, comes after Francis revealed he couldn’t think of retiring while he had children living at home

In 2015 Francis admitted he was wealthy by most standards, but said he still had to finance a big family, with those still sharing his Surrey mansion aged from 23 to 45. 

‘Served me well’: He said: ‘The green Tele served me extremely well for almost 50 years and I’m always amazed when I look back and realise what a chequered history we had together’

‘We are well-off. We are rich people,’ he said. ‘But I have got eight children who have all been university-educated. Five of them at the moment live at home. I like all that. I love the whole family, but it needs funding.’  

Rossi, who is worth an estimated £10 million, has a total of eight children from three mothers.

He and his second wife Eileen were sharing their eight-bedroom property with their then 19-year-old university student Fursey; 25-year-old Fynn, who worked in finance; 21-year-old Kiera, a veterinary nurse; 26-year-old Patrick, a chef; and Nicholas, 43, who runs a decorating business and was between homes.

Rossi met his first wife, Jean, at Butlin’s in Minehead when he was 15 and she was 18. The couple married in 1967 and had three children – Simon, Nicholas, and Kieran – before their divorce. 

He then had a three-year relationship with rock publicist Liz Gernon, who gave birth to their daughter Bernadette in 1984. He has been married to Irish-American Eileen since 1992. 

Rossi admitted he and his bandmates would also be reluctant to give up the lifestyle they had become accustomed to since rising to fame with their first hit, Pictures Of Matchstick Men, in 1967.

Memorabilia: The guitar – which was first used on the single Down The Dustpipe in 1970 and played on virtually all the band’s tracks for the next 45 years – was the headline lot at the auction’s Entertainment Memorabilia Sale 

He said: ‘I know we have entered the establishment and I don’t want to take a step backwards. I don’t want to come out of the lifestyle I am used to.

‘It’s very strange that the punter tends to think you have got £2 million in the corner of the bedroom in notes. You’ve had umpteen divorces, you drank like a fish, you live in a fabulous multi-million-pound house, you have got three or four or five cars…

‘They never figure that we do the same things as they do. I have got to think of where next week’s money is coming from, because it all needs maintaining. That is why we keep going.’  

Francis’ bandmate Rick Parfitt died aged 68 in December 2016 from complications caused by a pre-existing shoulder injury.

Rocker: The sale, which also featured the red and white trousers worn by Queen star Freddie Mercury on the band’s 1986 tour, comes after Francis revealed he couldn’t think of retiring while he had children living at home (pictured with the guitar at Live Aid)

At the auction a self-portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono from 1969, which the former Beatle added to autographs or when signing letters, sold for £20,063.

A guitar commissioned by fellow Beatle George Harrison as a gift for his former manager Denis O’Brien, a Zemaitis 12-string acoustic guitar, fetched £18,813.

And a signed, hand-made shirt worn by Robert Smith of The Cure during the band’s 1989 Prayer Tour sold for more than five times its pre-sale estimate, going for £6,313.

Smith offered the shirt for sale and is donating the proceeds to the Oxfam charity’s Green Christmas appeal. 

Still going: Francis performed alongside his bandmate Rick Parfitt at the Stadtpark in Hamburg in June 2015

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